Zoning Process

commercial real estate lawyer in Lafayette IN

Kevin J. Riley

Posted by Kevin J. Riley, on September 12, 2016

Rezoning Real Estate in Tippecanoe County

At RTS, we understand that clients may not be familiar with zoning regulations or the process for rezoning property. Whether you need assistance understanding zoning laws applicable to a specific piece of property or need help rezoning real estate, our experienced attorneys are prepared to review documents, prepare necessary filings, attend public hearings, and offer counsel and guidance.

What is rezoning?

Rezoning is the process in which property is given a new zoning classification that carries with it use and development restrictions that may differ from the previous classification.  Owners often choose to rezone real estate when the property’s current zoning classification does not allow the owner to use or develop the property as he or she intends or wishes.  The following are a couple of examples in which an owner or prospective owner may want to petition to have property rezoned based on the current zoning ordinance in Tippecanoe County, Indiana.

  • A property owner wants to convert an existing building into a bed and breakfast.  The building is located on real estate zoned general business.  The property owner can file a petition requesting that the property be rezoned to central business or neighborhood business (urbanized).
  • A property owner who owns real estate zoned industrial wants to operate a dog grooming business on his property.  The owner can petition to have the property rezoned to general business to permit the use as a matter of right.

How can a property be rezoned?

The rezoning process may vary from county to county, but here is a brief overview of the rezoning process currently in place in Tippecanoe County:

1.         Determine the current zoning classification

The first step in determining whether a property needs to be rezoned is to verify the current zoning classification for the property and the attendant use and development regulations.  An attorney knowledgeable in zoning law will be able to explain the applicable regulations and discuss with you any alternate classifications that will allow for the intended use and development of the property.  RTS attorneys typically consult with area plan commission staff for input regarding a potential rezone.

In addition to the intended use, we also consider other factors such as the zoning classifications of surrounding properties when advising clients about rezoning their property.

2.         File a petition

If an owner elects to pursue a rezoning of his or her property, the owner or his or her authorized representative must file a petition with the area plan commission requesting to rezone the property.  The petition will specify the existing zoning classification and the desired zoning classification for the property.

3.         The petition will go to public hearings

After the petition is filed, the area plan commission staff will issue a report recommending approval or disapproval of the petition. The report is not binding upon the Area Plan Commission.  After the report is issued, a public hearing will be held before the Area Plan Commission to consider the petition.

The Area Plan Commission may recommend approval or disapproval of the petition.  In certain cases, the Area Plan Commission may make no recommendation.  In making its decision, the commission must consider the following:

  1. the comprehensive plan for the jurisdiction;
  2. the current conditions and the character of current structures and uses in the area;
  3. the most desirable use for the property that is the subject of the rezoning request;
  4. whether the proposed rezoning will have an adverse effect on the value of properties in the area; and
  5. whether the proposed rezoning reflects responsible standards for growth and development.

The recommendation of the Area Plan Commission will be certified to the appropriate legislative body.  Thereafter, a public hearing will be held before said legislative body.  The legislative body will vote to approve or disapprove the petition and is not required to follow the recommendation of the Area Plan Commission.

4.         The property is rezoned

If a petition to rezone property is approved, the legislative body will adopt an ordinance designating the new zoning classification for the property. The owner will then be responsible for complying with the regulations and restrictions applicable to the new zoning classification. 

Experienced Counsel

At RTS, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to advise clients about the zoning regulations applicable to their property and, where necessary, guide them through the rezoning process.

**Reiling Teder & Schrier, LLC is an Indiana Limited Liability Company. The information contained in this website has been prepared by Reiling Teder & Schrier, LLC for informational purposes only, and is not legal advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon to make any decision, legal or otherwise. If you have any specific questions or inquiries regarding any of the information contained in this website, you should consult with an attorney licensed in your state. The information contained in this website pertains only to matters of Indiana law and the laws of other states may be completely different from the laws of the State of Indiana.